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Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA

Cheri Fein, executive director, Public and Media Relations
[email protected] or 212 217.4700

The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology presents Impact: Fifty Years of the CFDA, the first museum exhibition to celebrate the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the leading fashion trade organization in the United States. Approximately 100 garments and accessories designed by the CFDA's most impactful creators of the last 50 years will be on view from February 10 through April 17, 2012. Also included in the exhibition will be visual images and acknowledgment of the nearly 600 designers who have been members over the last five decades. Each living designer selected to participate in the exhibition will select a single object or ensemble that best represents his or her impact on the fashion world. Work by historical CFDA members will be selected by exhibition curators Patricia Mears, deputy director of The Museum at FIT, and Fred Dennis, the museums senior curator. Impact: Fifty Years of the CFDA is a collaborative partnership between The Museum at FIT and the CFDA.

Conceived by CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg, Impact will be an ode to the illustrious designs of the CFDA's many members and will mark the organizations 50th anniversary in 2012.

Gray feathered men's jacket Red and black dress Oscar de la Renta - yellow skirt, black top
Thom Browne, pheasant feather and wool suit (jacket and pants), white oxford shirt, grey flannel necktie, grey- felted fur bowler hat, grey leather boots, Autumn/Winter 2008 09, USA, lent by Thom Browne. Narciso Rodriguez, embroidered silk dress worn by Michelle Obama on election night 2008, Spring 2009, USA, lent by Narciso Rodriguez.
Oscar de la Renta, silk taffeta gown with black Guipure lace bodice, spring 2012, USA, lent by Oscar de la Renta.

Among the designers included in the exhibition will be Halston, Norman Norell, Pauline Trigre, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, Rudi Gernreich, Bob Mackie, James Galanos, Diane von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Isabel Toledo, Rodarte, and Proenza Schouler. The exhibition will be organized thematically to illuminate the broad spectrum of American creativity, from functional sportswear to couture-quality evening wear.

Founded in 1962 by publicist Eleanor Lambert and 50 of America's leading fashion designers, the CFDA's primary mandate was the recognition and promotion of fashion design talent based in the United States. Over the next five decades, as CFDA membership swelled to more than 400, its professional and philanthropic activities, outreach, and influence expanded exponentially. Today, in an era dominated by the designer label, it is perhaps difficult to comprehend how seminal a role the CFDA played in creating the platform for the recognition of individual creative talents in New York City, the nexus of global fashion.

Gold evening ensemble Maroon mini dress Dress and coat - black and white diamond pattern
Traina-Norell, evening set, gold sequined camel silk jersey sheath dress and cashmere coat with sequined lining, c. 1958, USA, gift of Lauren Bacall. Rudi Gernreich, wool knit mini-dress, 1963, USA, gift of Ruth Deardoff.  Pauline Trigere, black and white cotton cloque, dress, and coat, c. 1964, USA, collection of Beverley Birks.

American designers have always had impact on how people dress, said von Furstenberg.  In honor of that creativity and in celebration of the CFDAs 50th anniversary, we are proud to present, in partnership with The Museum at FIT, an exhibit that represents the tremendous work of our members for the last five decades. Impact was the one word that came to mind immediately—it is so strong and defining of our individual and collective influence that we knew right away that our exhibit would be called Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA.            

Slim evening gown Toledo red and black dress Feathery floor-length dress
Geoffrey Beene, rayon and silk gown with metallic trim, Spring 1990, USA, lent by The Geoffrey Beene Foundation. Isabel Toledo, red and black linen and knit Packing Dress, spring/summer 1988, USA, museum purchase.  Norma Kamali, black parachute cloth and feather jacket, skirt and turban, USA, museum purchase. 

The Museum at FIT is extremely pleased to be collaborating with Diane von Furstenberg and the CFDA on the exhibition Impact, said Valerie Steele, museum director. Exhibition curator Patricia Mears is an authority on American fashion both past and present, and I'm sure our visitors will love to see which  creations today's designers have selected.

A publication also entitled Impact, produced by the CFDA and published by Abrams, will be the visually rich companion book to the exhibition. With more than 500 photographs, the book will document the evolution of the CFDA, from its birth in 1962, its early promotional efforts, and its strong ties to the arts, to the growth of its educational programs, its support of worthy causes, its own awards ceremony, its stewardship of fashion week, and its support of designers. Contributors include Diane von Furstenberg; Cathy Horyn, fashion journalist for The New York Times; and Patricia Mears.

About the CFDA
The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc, (CFDA) is a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1962 that leads industry-wide initiatives and whose membership consists of more than 400 of America's foremost women's wear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. In addition to hosting the annual CFDA Fashion Awards, which recognize the top creative talent in the industry, the organization offers programs which support professional development and scholarships, including the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the Geoffrey Beene Design Scholar Award, the Liz Claiborne Scholarship Award, the CFDA/Teen Vogue Scholarship, and the Gilt All Star Scholarship. Member support is provided through the Business Services Network, a high-profile group of companies offering designers strategic opportunities. The CFDA Foundation, Inc. is a separate, not-for-profit organized to mobilize the membership to raise funds for charitable causes. Through the Foundation, the CFDA created and manages Fashion Targets Breast Cancer; raises funds for HIV/AIDS organizations with 7th on Sale; addresses the issue of model health with the CFDA Health Initiative; and is a key participant in other programs such as the annual Fashions Night Out. For more information, please visit www.CFDA.com.

A Fashion Museum
The Museum at FIT is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion. Best known for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions, which the New York Times has described as ravishing, the museum has a collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present. Like other fashion museums, such as the Muse de la Mode, the Mode Museum, and the Museo de la Moda, The Museum at FIT collects, conserves, documents, exhibits, and interprets fashion. The museums mission is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, publications, and public programs. Visit www.fitnyc.edu/museum.

The Couture Council is a membership group of fashion enthusiasts that helps support the exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT. The Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion is given to a selected designer at a benefit luncheon held every September. For information on the Couture Council, call 212 217.4532 or email [email protected].

Museum Hours
Tuesday-Friday noon-8 pm
Saturday 10 am-5 pm
Closed Sunday, Monday, and legal holidays

Admission is free and the museum is open to the public.